A NEW James Bond film called Skyfall is on the horizon, just in time to celebrate 50 years of 007.
And of course there can't be a Bond film without a Bond song. The latest is courtesy of Adele and it came out earlier this month.
So with the focus on the music of MI6's master spy, here's our top seven 007 songs.
Live And Let Die - Paul McCartney & Wings (1973)
TO signal a new era - the arrival of Roger Moore - the series dispensed with the big band crooners and Shirley Bassey's sass, instead choosing to tap into the more modern sounds of ex-Beatle McCartney, perhaps finally convinced that this new-fangled rock 'n' roll thing might actually be here to stay. McCartney serves up a three-part epic that combines his whistful piano balladeering, a suitably bombastic symphonic rock section and a reggae breakdown and manages to squeeze it all into just over three minutes. No other Bond theme had ever dared to throw in a reggae breakdown, and nor will they ever again, but McCartney gets away with it, partly because of the film's Caribbean setting and the more-modern tone of the film, which centred on drug-smuggling. Ironically, Connery's Bond had previously dissed The Beatles in Goldfinger by saying, "My dear girl there are some things that just aren't done, such as drinking Dom Pérignon '53 above a temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That's as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!". Memorably covered by Guns N' Roses, Live And Let Die was the first Bond theme to reach the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic.
Nobody Does It Better - Carly Simon (from The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)
THIS classy soft rocker ticks all the boxes - its chord progressions, melodies, arrangement, vocal delivery and even the lyrics (which tend towards the rubbish in many of these songs) are all tops. The delicate piano and vocal intro gives way to a slow groove (signalled by a Ringo-style drum fill) that merges tasty strings and splashes of harp and electric guitar, but it's the way Simon's voice builds throughout the song that gives it its dynamic, both musically and emotionally. The lyrics, written by award-winner Carole Bayer Sager, are also surprisingly layered and subtle for a song that's obviously about sexual prowess. The narrator swings from boastfulness about her lover ("makes me feel sad for the rest") to relationship regret ("nobody does it better/though sometimes I wish someone could"), eventually climaxing with the tasty outro of "baby, you're the best". Nobody Does It Better exactly replicated Live And Let Die's chart success four years earlier - #7 in the UK, #2 in the US.
Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey (1964)
THOSE opening brassy chords, followed by the trumpeted response - few sounds outside Monty Norman's actual James Bond Theme scream "007" as much as the first 20 seconds of Goldfinger. What follows is pure Bond music as well. Shirley Bassey's sassy vibrato is the voice most associated with the franchise's soundtrack - she's the only vocalist to have had multiple goes at a theme song, following Goldfinger with Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Moonraker (1979). Plus there's that characteristic four-note rise-and-fall melody that's quintessential. And that last note is a doozy. It all adds up to being the track that set the benchmark for all that followed, in much the same way that the film did. Goldfinger was the first Bond theme to hit the charts and its US top 10 position wouldn't be bested until Live And Let Die. Also good is Bassey's Diamonds Are Forever, with its funky second verse and that awesome title refrain, which was sampled so successfully by Kanye West on his Late Registration single Diamonds From Sierra Leone.
Thunderball - Tom Jones (1965)
THE theme for Sean Connery fourth outing was originally intended to be a song called Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which was sung initially by Shirley Bassey and re-recorded Dionne Warwick. This was ditched when it was decided the theme song should have the same title as the movie, and so Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ended up on the cutting room floor (although some of it's musical cues and melodies made it into the film), despite being better than plenty of Bond themes that were used over the years. Having said that, the final decision to go with Tom Jones singing a hastily written track called Thunderball was the right one. Mimicking the bombast and drama of Goldfinger, and sliding that four-note rise-and-fall melody in there, it even tries to out-do Bassey's final note, which reportedly caused Jones to pass out. Bassey wasn't the only one Jones beat in the race - Johnny Cash submitted a track called Thunderball, which reportedly came close to making the film's cut. It would have been the first (and only) time 007 got a rather out-of-place country and western number to match the series' often impressive opening titles. Side note: Mike Patton's avant-metal group Mr Bungle do a fantastic cover of Jones' Thunderball and even named their second album after the villain's boat - the Disco Volante - in the film.
A View To A Kill - Duran Duran (1985)
THE first Bond song to go to #1 in the US or UK, this theme track saw the 007 series catching up with the sound of the '80s and also making up for the disappointing and drab efforts so far that decade (Sheen Easton's For Your Eyes Only, and Rita Coolidge's All Time High from Octopussy). Duran Duran teamed with John Barry, who had been a co-writer for most of the previous theme songs since the start of the series. On first listen, the track doesn't really sound like a Bond theme, and it's only Barry's orchestral embellishments that hint at its 007 connection. Still, it's a catchy track and certainly one of the catchier and dancier songs of the series. It would be the last time the band's original members recorded together until they re-teamed to make the well-received comeback album Astronaut, which came out in 2004. A View To A Kill was also their second and final #1 in the US and it would be almost 20 years until they would reach the UK top five again. The song was accompanied by a film clip that featured the members involved in some of the action of the film, particularly the Eiffel Tower sequence, and featured Duran Duran's lead singer getting to say his name in true 007 fashion ("Bon. Simon Le Bon").
Goldeneye - Tina Turner (1995)
I'M not sure what was going on in the U2 camp in the mid-'90s, but around the time the rhythm section of Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton were working on the theme for spy movie Mission: Impossible, Bono and The Edge were also getting into espionage movie mode to do the theme for Bond's rebirth Goldeneye. And say what you will about Bono and The Edge, but they did a hell of a good job on this Bond theme, following the film and its new star Pierce Brosnan by walking a fine line between being reverent to the past and relevant to modern audiences. Choosing Tina Turner to sing it was a masterstroke, as her brassy tones are reminiscent of Bassey belting out Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever, while the processed beat point to the modern. And to think - we almost ended up with a Goldeneye theme song by Ace Of Base.
The World Is Not Enough - Garbage (1999)
PERHAPS the best marriage of an artist's musical style with the thematic sounds of the Bond series is The World Is Not Enough. Garbage's signature beats and hyper-produced work on this track would have fit in nicely on any of their albums, even without their trademark processed grunge guitars. They had first-rate material to work with, which helped. Composer David Arnold (who worked on all the Bond films from Tomorrow Never Dies to Quantum Of Solace) teamed up with lyricist Don Black (who wrote the words for Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever) to make a track that the producers hoped would reference the classic Nobody Does It Better, while allowing for a modern electronic edge to creep in. Shirley Manson's vocal performance helps seal the deal. It should be noted that sandwiched between the excellent Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough is Sheryl Crowe's unfairly maligned Tomorrow Never Dies, which is sassy and groovy and very nearly made the list. Ditto Chris Cornell's You Know My Name from Casino Royale.
And the worst? It's a tie between Lulu's The Man With The Golden Gun and Madonna's Die Another Day.